Knowledge of end-of-life wishes by physicians and family caregivers in cancer patients

Jose A Calvache, Socorro Moreno, Gillian Prue, Joanne Reid, Sam H Ahmedzai, Angelica Arango-Gutierrez, Liliana Ardila, Lucia I Arroyo, Esther de Vries

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To describe communication regarding cancer patient's end-of-life (EoL) wishes by physicians and family caregivers.

METHODS: An online questionnaire and telephone-based surveys were performed with physicians and family caregivers respectively in three teaching hospitals in Colombia which had been involved in the EoL care of cancer patients.

RESULTS: For 138 deceased patients we obtained responses from physicians and family caregivers. In 32 % physicians reported they spoke to the caregiver and in 17 % with the patient regarding EoL decisions. In most cases lacking a conversation, physicians indicated the treatment option was "clearly the best for the patient" or that it was "not necessary to discuss treatment with the patient". Twenty-six percent of the caregivers indicated that someone from the medical team spoke with the patient about treatment, and in 67% who had a conversation, caregivers felt that the provided information was unclear or incomplete. Physicians and family caregivers were aware if the patient had any advance care directive in 6% and 26% of cases, respectively, with low absolute agreement (34%).

CONCLUSIONS: There is a lack of open conversation regarding EoL in patients with advanced cancer with their physicians and family caregivers in Colombia. Communication strategies are urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140
JournalBMC palliative care
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

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